Community Content: Take time this month for health evaluation

Preston Moore
Guest columnist

April showers might bring May flowers, but June brings its own array of noteworthy events and traditions.

From widely adopted awareness campaigns like Pride Month, to more lighthearted ones like National Papaya Month, National Candy Month, National Turkey Month and National Adopt a Cat Month, to the welcome wedding or two, to Father’s Day – June gatherings are a recipe for losing track of time. 

Preston Moore is chief of the Whitehall Division of Fire.

But what I hope we don’t lose track of in the coming weeks is that June also is Men’s Health Month.

For a number of reasons, men’s life expectancy still is an average of five years less than women’s, with Native American and African American men having the lowest life expectancies of any major demographic group.

To combat this, Men’s Health Month is aimed at raising awareness of preventable health problems though early detection and treatment of disease and injuries among men and boys.

If you think you’re doing all you can to protect your health as a man, you might be right, but you’re not in good company. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 60% of men meet the federal physical-activity guidelines for aerobic activity, more than 40% of men are considered obese, more than 51% of men have hypertension and more than 15% of men still smoke cigarettes.

We can do better, and we must do better, to protect our health, for our loved ones, for our communities and for ourselves.

Not sure where to get started? It’s simple: We all know that by eating right, eliminating bad habits and maintaining a healthy body weight we can improve general health.

I also  would recommend an annual comprehensive medical exam for all of the men (and women) out there. The Whitehall Division of Fire uses the National Fire Protection Association standards for the medical evaluation of all its members, and I would recommend the same for you.

Annually, consider receiving a physical exam, blood tests, urine tests, hearing tests, chest X-rays, electrocardiogram, stress test and fitness testing. Through frequent monitoring and quick adjustments as needed, we can improve the health, safety and effectiveness of our firefighters, and it would have the same impact for you.

And, please, stop using COVID-19 as an excuse to go see your doctor – there have been too many missed check-ups over the past 18 months, and we can’t keep letting our preventative health slide.  

No matter how busy we get this June, reducing the risk of illness and injuries is something we all can get behind. So please take some time this month to keep track of your health and keep Whitehall healthy.

Preston Moore is chief of the Whitehall Division of Fire.